Acts 11

Peter Reports at Jerusalem

1 Now the apostles and 1the brethren who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.
2 And when Peter came up to Jerusalem, 2those who were circumcised took issue with him,
3 saying, "3You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them."
4 But Peter began speaking and proceeded to explain to them 4in orderly sequence, saying,
5 "5I was in the city of Joppa praying; and in a trance I saw 6a vision, an object coming down like a great sheet lowered by four corners from the sky; and it came right down to me,
6 and when I had fixed my gaze on it and was observing it I saw the four-footed animals of the earth and the wild beasts and the crawling creatures and the birds of the air.
7 "I also heard a voice saying to me, 'Get up, Peter; kill and eat.'
8 "But I said, 'By no means, Lord, for nothing unholy or unclean has ever entered my mouth.'
9 "But a voice from heaven answered a second time, '7What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy.'
10 "This happened three times, and everything was drawn back up into the sky.
11 "And behold, at that moment three men appeared at the house in which we were staying, having been sent to me from 8Caesarea.
12 "9The Spirit told me to go with them 10without misgivings. 11These six brethren also went with me and we entered the man's house.
13 "And he reported to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, and saying, 'Send to Joppa and have Simon, who is also called Peter, brought here;
14 and he will speak 12words to you by which you will be saved, you and 13all your household.'
15 "And as I began to speak, 14the Holy Spirit fell upon them just 15as He did upon us at the beginning.
16 "And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, '16John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'
17 "Therefore if 17God gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, 18who was I that I could stand in God's way?"
18 When they heard this, they quieted down and 19glorified God, saying, "Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the 20repentance that leads to life."

The Church at Antioch

19 21So then those who were scattered because of the persecution that occurred in connection with Stephen made their way to 22Phoenicia and 23Cyprus and 24Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews alone.
20 But there were some of them, men of 25Cyprus and 26Cyrene, who came to 27Antioch and began speaking to the 28Greeks also, 29preaching the Lord Jesus.
21 And 30the hand of the Lord was with them, and 31a large number who believed turned to the Lord.
22 The news about them reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent 32Barnabas off to 33Antioch.
23 Then when he arrived and witnessed 34the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord;
24 for he was a good man, and 35full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And 36considerable numbers were brought to the Lord.
25 And he left for 37Tarsus to look for Saul;
26 and when he had found him, he brought him to 38Antioch. And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and 39the disciples were first called 40Christians in 41Antioch.
27 Now at this time 42some prophets came down from Jerusalem to 43Antioch.
28 One of them named 44Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine 45all over the world. And this took place in the reign of 46Claudius.
29 And in the proportion that any of 47the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of 48the brethren living in Judea.
30 49And this they did, sending it in charge * of 50Barnabas and Saul to the 51elders.

Acts 11 Commentary

Chapter 11

Peter's defence. (1-18) The success of the gospel at Antioch. (19-24) The disciples named Christians, Relief sent to Judea. (25-30)

Verses 1-18 The imperfect state of human nature strongly appears, when godly persons are displeased even to hear that the word of God has been received, because their own system has not been attended to. And we are too apt to despair of doing good to those who yet, when tried, prove very teachable. It is the bane and damage of the church, to shut out those from it, and from the benefit of the means of grace, who are not in every thing as we are. Peter stated the whole affair. We should at all times bear with the infirmities of our brethren; and instead of taking offence, or answering with warmth, we should explain our motives, and show the nature of our proceedings. That preaching is certainly right, with which the Holy Ghost is given. While men are very zealous for their own regulations, they should take care that they do not withstand God; and those who love the Lord will glorify him, when made sure that he has given repentance to life to any fellow-sinners. Repentance is God's gift; not only his free grace accepts it, but his mighty grace works it in us, grace takes away the heart of stone, and gives us a heart of flesh. The sacrifice of God is a broken spirit.

Verses 19-24 The first preachers of the gospel at Antioch, were dispersed from Jerusalem by persecution; thus what was meant to hurt the church, was made to work for its good. The wrath of man is made to praise God. What should the ministers of Christ preach, but Christ? Christ, and him crucified? Christ, and him glorified? And their preaching was accompanied with the Divine power. The hand of the Lord was with them, to bring that home to the hearts and consciences of men, which they could but speak to the outward ear. They believed; they were convinced of the truth of the gospel. They turned from a careless, carnal way of living, to live a holy, heavenly, spiritual life. They turned from worshipping God in show and ceremony, to worship him in the Spirit and in truth. They turned to the Lord Jesus, and he became all in all with them. This was the work of conversion wrought upon them, and it must be wrought upon every one of us. It was the fruit of their faith; all who sincerely believe, will turn to the Lord, When the Lord Jesus is preached in simplicity, and according to the Scriptures, he will give success; and when sinners are thus brought to the Lord, really good men, who are full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, will admire and rejoice in the grace of God bestowed on them. Barnabas was full of faith; full of the grace of faith, and full of the fruits of the faith that works by love.

Verses 25-30 Hitherto the followers of Christ were called disciples, that is, learners, scholars; but from that time they were called Christians. The proper meaning of this name is, a follower of Christ; it denotes one who, from serious thought, embraces the religion of Christ, believes his promises, and makes it his chief care to shape his life by Christ's precepts and example. Hence it is plain that multitudes take the name of Christian to whom it does not rightly belong. But the name without the reality will only add to our guilt. While the bare profession will bestow neither profit nor delight, the possession of it will give both the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. Grant, Lord, that Christians may forget other names and distinctions, and love one another as the followers of Christ ought to do. True Christians will feel for their brethren under afflictions. Thus will fruit be brought forth to the praise and glory of God. If all mankind were true Christians, how cheerfully would they help one another! The whole earth would be like one large family, every member of which would strive to be dutiful and kind.

Cross References 51

  • 1. Acts 1:15
  • 2. Acts 10:45
  • 3. Matthew 9:11; Acts 10:28; Galatians 2:12
  • 4. Luke 1:3
  • 5. Acts 10:9-32; Acts 11:5-14
  • 6. Acts 9:10
  • 7. Acts 10:15
  • 8. Acts 8:40
  • 9. Acts 8:29
  • 10. Acts 15:9; Romans 3:22
  • 11. Acts 10:23
  • 12. Acts 10:22
  • 13. John 4:53; Acts 10:2; Acts 16:15, 31-34; Acts 18:8; 1 Corinthians 1:16
  • 14. Acts 10:44
  • 15. Acts 2:4
  • 16. Acts 1:5
  • 17. Acts 10:45, 47
  • 18. Acts 5:39
  • 19. Matthew 9:8
  • 20. 2 Corinthians 7:10
  • 21. Acts 8:1, 4
  • 22. Acts 15:3; Acts 21:2
  • 23. Acts 4:36
  • 24. Acts 6:5; Acts 11:20, 22, 27; Acts 13:1; Acts 14:26; Acts 15:22f, 30, 35; Acts 18:22; Galatians 2:11
  • 25. Acts 4:36
  • 26. Matthew 27:32; Acts 2:10; Acts 6:9; Acts 13:1
  • 27. Acts 6:5; Acts 11:19, 22, 27; Acts 13:1; Acts 14:26; Acts 15:22f, 30, 35; Acts 18:22; Galatians 2:11
  • 28. John 7:35; Acts 6:1
  • 29. Acts 5:42
  • 30. Luke 1:66
  • 31. Acts 2:47
  • 32. Acts 4:36
  • 33. Acts 6:5; Acts 11:19, 20, 27; Acts 13:1; Acts 18:22; Galatians 2:11
  • 34. Acts 13:43; Acts 14:26; Acts 15:40; Acts 20:24, 32
  • 35. Acts 2:4
  • 36. Acts 2:47; Acts 5:14; Acts 11:21
  • 37. Acts 9:11
  • 38. Acts 6:5; Acts 11:20, 22, 27
  • 39. John 2:2; Acts 1:15
  • 40. Acts 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16
  • 41. Acts 6:5; Acts 11:20, 22, 27
  • 42. Luke 11:49; Acts 2:17; Acts 13:1; 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28
  • 43. Acts 6:5; Acts 11:20, 22, 26; Acts 13:1; Acts 14:26; Acts 15:22f, 30, 35; Acts 18:22; Galatians 2:11
  • 44. Acts 21:10
  • 45. Matthew 24:14
  • 46. Acts 18:2
  • 47. John 2:2; Acts 1:15; Acts 6:1; Acts 9:19, 25, 26, 38; Acts 11:26; Acts 13:52; Acts 14:20, 22, 28
  • 48. Acts 11:1
  • 49. Acts 12:25
  • 50. Acts 4:36
  • 51. Acts 14:23; Acts 15:2, 4, 6, 22; Acts 16:4; Acts 20:17; Acts 21:18; 1 Timothy 5:17, 19; Titus 1:5; James 5:14; 1 Peter 5:1; 2 John 1; 3 John 1

Footnotes 36

Acts 11 Commentaries

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